Flashmag Digizine Edition Issue 96 August 2019 - Page 130

Flashmag August 2019 www.flashmag.net


The debut full-length studio release for the daughter of Neneh Cherry includes production from MNEK, Steve Mac, and Fraser T Smith. Mabel’s debut album has been a long time coming. In the past couple of years she’s been constantly tipped as “one to watch”, opened for Harry Styles on tour, performed on Jimmy Fallon in the US, had a handful of Platinum selling singles and released (and then re-issued) her brilliant ‘Ivy to Roses’ mixtape. All of which has piled on the pressure for her first record, the knowingly titled ‘High Expectations’.

Since dropping her first song on Soundcloud in 2015, she’s has steadily made a name for herself with her own brand of Afroswing-inflected R&B and pop.

GoldLink has always had a story to tell. Whether it was the portrayal of love and missteps that permeated ‘And After That, We Didn’t Talk’, or the love for his hometown of the DMV (DC, Maryland and Virginia) – which showed itself in the collaborations, sound, and lyricism on follow-up project ‘At What Cost’ – these stories manifest throughout each release. ‘Diaspora’ is no different.

GoldLink moulds his third LP into a manifesto about existing as a black man, and the freedom and beauty of his hue – both internal and external. Still very much in the realm of future-sounds and go-go inspired pallets, the act melds these foundations with a plethora of genres created by the African diaspora. ‘Yard’ for instance, heavily relies on dancehall and reggae as GoldLink and UK collective WSTRN offer the masses a catchy and authentic collaboration. Elsewhere, Wizkid departs from his mainstay of Afrobeats to aid GoldLink in a low-fi hip-hop production, ‘No Lie’.

Rising out of the tumultuous, crowded neighborhoods of Kinshasa, Africa's third largest city, are KOKOKO!, a Congolese collective of musicians whose wildly inventive dance music feels anarchic, dangerous, and distinctly modern. The band's roots lie in a group of childhood friends who, unable to afford or even find proper instruments, began creating their own out of spare parts and junk they found in the street. Recorded on the fly in makeshift studio spaces, the band's debut album, Fongola, is a fascinating mix of rugged lo-fi beats, relentless grooves, rousing vocal interplay, and kitchen-sink cacophony that sounds like nothing else being made in Africa or any other continent.

High Expectation MABEL